What is Organic Chemisrty?

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A-level Chemistry By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Chemistry » A-level Chemistry
Last updated: 14/12/2014
Tags: aliphatic, analytical techniques, aromatic, cracking, reaction mechanism

Organic Chemistry is the chemistry of nature. In aliphatic chemistry, we deal with compounds derived from natural resources from underground (oil and gas), whereas aromatic chemistry is all about compounds derived from nature overground (plants, herbs etc).

In aliphatic chemistry we have alkanes, alkenes and alkynes which are made of carbon and hydrogens and known as hydrocarbons. Alkanes are saturated hydrocarbons wheras alkenes and alkynes are unsaturated. The hydrocarbons are generally obtained by cracking of crude oil using a cracking process which can be either thermolytic or catalytic. This process aids breaking down the long chain hydrocarbons into smaller fragments so that they can be used for various puposes.

Alkanes are generally chemically unreactive (unless subject to UV radiation when they undergo substitution reaction) and are very useful as fuels and solvents. On the other hand, alkenes (and alkynes) are more reactive due to the availabilty of the electrons from the double bond and they undergo addition reactions.

Aromatic compounds are derivatives of benzene. Any compound which contains at least one benzene type ring will be classified as an aromatic compound. Although aromatic compounds contain an unsaturated ring system and would be expected to be more reactive than an alkene, the very nature of the electrons being engaged in a delocalisation process, therefore lowering the energy level and making the compound more stable make the aromatic compounds only to undergo substitution reactions.

Although I use many books teaching chemistry, I find a couple of books quite useful for AS/A level organic chemistry. My first choice would be the AQA books.

John J Newman A-level Chemistry Tutor (Stevenage)

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I have worked as a Senior Research Scientist for GSK for more than 30 years. Since my early retirement in 2009, I have been tutoring full time and have coached many GCSE and AS/A level students improving their grades by at least two levels.

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